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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-16-2014

Milwaukee Sentinel, September 16, 1914:

How to raise revenue to run the government without putting a war stamp on baseball tickets:

1 - Tax the Braves every time they wallop the Giants.
2 - Tax Eddie Collins every time he makes a base hit.
3 - Tax Cravath every time he hits a home run.
4 - Tax the Cubs every time they sign a new manager.
5 - Tax Marty O’Toole every time he loses a game.
6 - Tax Heine Zimmerman every time he is bounced from the field.
7 - Tax Charles Ebbets every time he discovers a new holiday.
8 - Tax [Federal League President] James Gilmore for every organized baseball star he fails to sign.
9 - Tax Jack Knight every time he returns to the big league.
10 - Tax Ty Cobb for every fight he gets into.

Speaking of #1, the Braves picked up another game on the Giants “yesterday”, and woke up on the morning of September 16, 1914 with a 3.5 game lead in the National League.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 16, 2014 at 08:13 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, September 15, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-15-2014

A transcript of Chi-Feds manager Joe Tinker berating umpire Ed Goeckel, in the Pittsburgh Press, September 15, 1914:

“You are a fine piece of cheese to be umpiring a ball game. Why don’t you get up close to the plate and call them when they are over?...How about that stuff Saturday when you called the game on account of darkness when the sun was shining brightly?...You are the worst umpire I ever bumped up against and [Federal League President] Gilmore is going to tie the can to you shortly.”

The two had some history. In May 1914, Tinker successfully protested a game as the result of a controversial call by Goeckel.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 15, 2014 at 08:06 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, joe tinker

Friday, September 12, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-12-2014

Milwaukee Sentinel (page four), September 12, 1914:

PITCHER BURNS ARRESTED AND LOUISVILLE LOSES

...In the fifth inning Umpire Johnstone called Metz safe at the plate on a close play. Louisville players protested and it is said, witnesses say [sic], Burns threw a handful of dirt in Johnstone’s face and then hit the umpire in the nose. Players held Burns and Johnstone until the police arrived. Burns was taken to jail charged with assault and battery.

More from the Milwaukee Journal:

This makes the fourth player that has been arrested and fined in Indianapolis in the last two weeks. Outfielder Reilly, Phil Lewis, and Cryil [sic] Slapnicka being the other three.

This was actually worse than a player punching an umpire in the nose. It was a player breaking an umpire’s jaw with a punch.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 12, 2014 at 08:16 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, sleepy bill burns

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-11-2014

Harrisburg Telegraph, September 11, 1914:

Taking two games from Philadelphia yesterday while New York and Brooklyn were breaking even gives the Braves a lead of two and a half games. The pennant is not cinched by any means. The season does not end until October 7 and indications are that the fight may continue up to the last day. Chicago and St. Louis are still factors.

Washington Times, September 11, 1914:

[Boston] Manager Stallings says that in ten days more the gap will be so wide that New York will never again be able to overcome the leaders.

“My boys are putting up the best game in the league,” said Stallings today. “Indeed, the Giants must hustle to keep ahead of the Cubs and Cards, both of which teams are sailing along right behind them.”

Nobody knew yet, but this race was over. Boston went 21-2 between game two of a September 9 doubleheader and October 1.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 11, 2014 at 10:06 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-10-2014

Harrisburg Telegraph, September 10, 1914:

Pitcher Herbert, of the St. Louis Federal League team, was knocked unconscious during batting practice yesterday. He was pitching to his teammates when a hard hit ball struck him on the head. Doctors worked him over for ten minutes before the pitcher recovered consciousness. They found that he had concussion of the brain and ordered him removed to a hospital at once.

As you might expect, that was a season-ending injury. Could have been much, much worse though.

Anyone know when batting practice pitcher screens were invented? Obviously it was some time after 1914.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 10, 2014 at 08:17 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, ernie herbert, history

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-9-2014

Milwaukee Sentinel, September 9, 1914:

Only partly dressed, Ad Brennan, Chicago Federal pitcher, jumped from a moving train that was about to carry him through Buffalo on Tuesday. The porter forgot to call Brennan. He carried the remainder of his clothes in his flying leap from the train and used a convenient bush as a dressing room.

Man. Most people would perform feats of daring to leave Buffalo.

Anyway, the joke was on Brennan. He didn’t even pitch in that series.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 09, 2014 at 08:40 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: ad brennan, dugout, history

Monday, September 08, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-8-2014

Rock Island Argus, September 8, 1914:

The relative positions of the Boston and New York National league teams underwent no change as a result of yesterday’s games at Fenway park. Boston won in the morning, 5 to 4, and New York in the afternoon, 10 to 1. The largest crowds ever recorded in Boston at two baseball games in a single day attended.

After Snodgrass was hit by a pitched ball during the sixth inning of the afternoon contest the crowd “jeered” when he went to center field. His contemptuous motion in response to this reception was followed by a volley of bottles from the bleachers in his direction.

The game was held up five or 10 minutes and during the demonstration Mayor Curley went to the field and demanded of a police lieutenant that Snodgrass be removed from the park. Neither the officer nor the umpires would comply.

After the September 7 doubleheader at Fenway, the Giants and Braves were both 68-53, tied for first place.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 08, 2014 at 07:59 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fred snodgrass, history

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Baer: Jonathan Lucroy has broken the doubles record for catchers

With a first-inning double in tonight’s game against the Cardinals, his 48th of the season, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy broke the doubles record for catchers, per ESPN Stats & Info on Twitter. Ivan Rodriguez held the record previously, doubling 47 times in 1996 though two of those doubles were hit as a DH. 41 of Lucroy’s 48 doubles have been hit when he has been in the lineup as a catcher (six at first base, one at DH)...

he entered the night with a .299/.366/.476 slash line along with 13 home runs and 62 RBI.

The District Attorney Posted: September 06, 2014 at 08:01 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, catchers, history, ivan rodriguez, jonathan lucroy, records

Friday, September 05, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-5-2014

Milwaukee Journal, September 5, 1914:

After striking out in the fourth inning yesterday, “Babe” Borton threw his bat at the Venice pit, narrowly missing [his teammate] Pitcher Clarence Smith. The pitcher immediately attacked Borton, landing a vicious right over the latter’s left eye, which made it necessary for him to leave the game. The affair was the outcropping of bad blood that has existed in the team for some time. Borton and Smith came to Venice from the Chicago White Sox.

It’s probably a really bad idea to, in anger, throw a bat at your own dugout. Maybe he was upset at the lack of Borton license plates in the gift shop.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 05, 2014 at 07:54 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: babe borton, dugout, history, pop-boy smith

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-4-2014

Toledo News-Bee, September 4, 1914:

Tom Loftus, the lamented baseball leader and owner, once made $2,800 because he had hay fever.
...
[Red Sox president John I.] Taylor offered Tom $2,500 for [a] player. As he made the offer he glanced at Tom’s face and saw signs of woe. Tears were rolling down his cheeks.

“If you feel that way, Tom,” said John I., “I’ll make it $3,500.”

Not a word did Loftus reply. The tears gathered and rolled and his face was distorted as if in great grief. Taylor hastily lifted the price until he reached $5,300.

“If I could have held that sneeze back two more minutes,” said Tom, “he would have offered me $7,500.”

Fun story, but I don’t believe it’s true. Loftus was out of baseball by 1902 and Taylor didn’t take over the Red Sox until 1904.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 04, 2014 at 09:40 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

An interview with the ‘Hit King,’ Pete Rose

Don’t let the fear of making outs hold you back!

Mark: You’ve also got the record for the most at bats.

Pete: And I’ve got the record for the most games and I’ve got the record for the most wins.

Mark: The most outs too? Comment on that.

Pete: That’s okay, I mean, that’s okay. The guy second now is pretty good, his name is Carl Yastrzemski. I batted fourteen thousand and some times. I got four thousand and some hits. It was fun making the outs and having the opportunity to try to get base hits. You know, longevity is part of being a good person, whether you’re in business or whether you’re in sports and I played twenty-four years. I was pretty much injury free over most of my career and I was always surrounded with great players. You know I played with ten Hall of Famers. The first one being Frank Robinson and the last one being Barry Larkin. You throw in Bench, Morgan and Perez and you throw in Carlton and Mike Schmidt and you go up to Montreal and you throw in Gary Carter and Andre Dawson. You come back home as player/manager and you throw in Barry Larkin. I played for Sparky Anderson, Hall of Fame Manager. I played against a lot of Hall of Famers. Hit off of nineteen Hall of Fame pitchers. I don’t know how many Hall of Famers I played against. Pretty darn many I think.

...Mark: Well, you’ve traveled throughout the United States, now what makes this region of Cincinnati (Clermont County) so special to you?

Pete: Well, obviously one thing I was born here. Two, I was always a Cincinnati Reds fan growing up. Every boy wanted to be a Cincinnati Red. I’m no different than anybody else. I just happened to live the dream and be able to accomplish what I did in this town. I mean, there are a lot of good things going on in this town.

You know most of the things that I like about Cincinnati are involved in baseball. You know I’m not the type of guy that goes to plays, the Phantom of the Opera, although it’s great, I’m too macho to do that kind of stuff.

 

Repoz Posted: September 04, 2014 at 07:48 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: history, reds

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Posnanski: ERA, FIP and Kershaw

Bryce Harper’s RBI against him last night was the first this season by a lefty batter. His second-worst Game Score this year is this game (7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K). etc. etc. etc.

[Clayton] Kershaw is on pace to become just the fifth pitcher since Deadball to have a sub-2.00 ERA and FIP. The previous four are all-time seasons:

1946: Hal Newhouser, 1.94 ERA; 1.97 FIP
1963: Sandy Koufax, 1.88 ERA, 1.85 FIP
1968: Bob Gibson, 1.12 ERA, 1.77 FIP
1971: Tom Seaver, 1.76 ERA, 1.93 FIP.
2014: Clayton Kershaw, 1.70 ERA, 1.89 FIP.

Amazing stuff. Kershaw should become the first pitcher in more than 40 years to tilt ERA and FIP, only the fifth ever, a year up there in its own way with Gibson’s 1968 season. There is no shortage of ways to show just how awesome Clayton Kershaw is these days … but I like this one. Kershaw is dominant in old stats and in new ones. That could be what they mean by timeless.

The District Attorney Posted: September 03, 2014 at 01:08 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers, history, joe posnanski

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-3-2014

Toledo News-Bee, September 3, 1914:

There is only one instance on record of an umpire putting a man out of a game who was asleep. An umpire did put Dummy Hoy out of a game for calling him names, but Vic Willis was the victim of the even more remarkable case. Vic was with the Boston team and the players on the bench were warbling at Emslie every instant. Bob was listening hard, striving to identify the culprits and keeping an eye toward the bench. Finally he whirled and called out:

“Willis—off the field. Get out of there.”

The Boston players suddenly became convulsed with mirth. Emslie rushed to the bench to enforce his mandate and there was Willis, sound asleep and snoring with his head resting against the side of the bench. Emslie had to wake him up and order him off to make good.

Is an umpire allowed to change his mind about an ejection? I assume not, but I’ve also never heard of a sleeping player getting ejected for verbal abuse.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 03, 2014 at 07:55 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: bob emslie, dugout, history, vic willis

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-2-2014

Pittsburgh Press, September 2, 1914:

According to a letter received by Mrs. “Rebel” Oakes, from Mrs. Arnold Hauser, Hauser, the former shortstop of the St. Louis Cardinals, who has been ill for almost two years, has greatly improved and has great hopes of re-entering the game next season.

Hauser has been in a sanitarium near St. Louis for some time, not having played ball since 1912. The former Card weighed but 99 pounds when he went to the sanitarium but since that time his weight has increased to 137 pounds.

Hauser’s story is heartbreaking.

His father died in 1904, when Arnold was a teenager. In 1912, his mother committed suicide, and in 1913 Hauser’s infant daughter died. The deaths in his family, in addition to a severe knee injury, sent him over the edge. According to his SABR bio, Hauser arrived at Spring Training 1914 having lost 25 pounds, obviously severely depressed, and suffering from delusions. He was committed to a sanitarium and was diagnosed as “a victim of melancholia with a religious trend”.

Hauser had a cup of coffee with the 1915 Chicago Whales, but didn’t play particularly well and was out of baseball at the end of the year.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 02, 2014 at 06:31 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: arnold hauser, dugout, history

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Madden:Captain Catch-22: Offenses suffer with Derek Jeter, David Wright in prime batting order spots

Carleton Carpenter, Debbie Reynolds and Aba Daba Honeymoon incredibly still live on from ‘51…so should grace saving Batting Averages!

On the other hand, Jeter’s decline, in which, since late June, he’s had more parting gifts from opposing teams than extra base hits, has been both sad to watch and a real dilemma for Yankee manager Joe Girardi. While it would be tough to finger Jeter as the primary culprit for the Yankees’ offensive struggles this season — there are plenty of other more worthy candidates for that in the middle of the order — his inability to get around on almost any hard-throwing righties, his seven extra base hits since June 24, and the 12-point drop in his batting average since Aug. 1 cries out for moving him out of the No. 2 hole to the bottom of the lineup. But even though Girardi so famously stated he wasn’t hired to manage a farewell tour, he’s forced to do just that because moving Jeter would create a whole new media controversy that this delicate Yankee season doesn’t need.

At the same time, suggestions that Girardi should start giving more and more at-bats at shortstop to defensively superior Brendan Ryan or Stephen Drew are absurd, if only because neither of them is going to provide any added juice to the lineup, or is being groomed to succeed Jeter next year. Rather, for all of us who have admired Jeter’s sustained excellence and nobility these past 19 seasons, the hope is he just finishes the season respectably and not in the throes of a prolonged slump that drops his batting average — his one saving grace right now — to under .250 or worse. Remember, Joe DiMaggio hit .263 his final season, at only 36. So much has been said about the Yankees needing to get Jeter to just one more October. But considering the way Jeter is struggling down the stretch, maybe, for his sake, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the finish line came sooner.

Repoz Posted: August 31, 2014 at 06:24 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: history, mets, yankees

Friday, August 29, 2014

Schoenfield: A quick note about awesome Wade Davis

Forget Wade Davis… now I want to vote for Frank Williams for MVP!

Overall, [Wade] Davis has allowed a batting average of .139 and a slugging percentage of .149, giving him an “isolated power” allowed figure of .010. I assumed that would be the lowest ever (minimum 50 innings), but it’s not. A reliever named Frank Williams for the 1986 Giants had an isolated power allowed of .006. In 52.1 innings, Williams allowed 35 hits—just one for extra bases, a double. (He also allowed just one stolen bases while nine guys were caught stealing on his watch ... wow.) The Giants thought so much of his performance they traded him to the Reds in the offseason for outfielder Eddie Milner.

(Williams’ story is interesting but sad. He started one game in his career ... and threw a shutout, as a rookie in 1984. According to this story by Tom Hawthorn of the Toronto Globe and Mail, Williams’ best pitch was a slurve of sorts that he gripped deep in the palm of his hand. You can see from the baseball card photo in that story that Williams threw from a sidearm or three-quarters delivery. He took part in tough-man boxing matches in Idaho in the offseason. After his career ended, he explored his Native American roots, but his life fell apart with drug and alcohol use and the death of his twin brother and he eventually ended up living on the streets of Victoria, B.C., and died in 2009.)

Back to Davis. The lowest isolated power figures going back to 1957, from the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index:

1. Williams, .006
2. Davis, .010
3. Jim Johnson, 2008 Orioles, .016
4. Kevin Cameron, 2007, .023
5. Rob Murphy, 1986 Reds, .024

The District Attorney Posted: August 29, 2014 at 11:51 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: frank williams, giants, history, royals, wade davis

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-29-2014

Chicago Eagle, August 29, 1914:

Captain John C. Leonard, United States navy, who was in command of the battleship Virginia when Vera Cruz was taken, declared the other day that “the great game of baseball will civilize Mexico.”

“Besides having a great influence in that direction,” said Captain Leonard, “baseball will supplant the brutal bull fighting.

“In Vera Cruz boys are now playing the game.

“The bull fighting was not relished by the Americans, and General Funston put a stop to it.”

Well, he was half right. They do like their béisbol.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 29, 2014 at 08:06 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, international

Thursday, August 28, 2014

McCoy: Bryan Price sees throwback style in current state of baseball

You haven’t lived…until you live through a Sonny Ruberto Era.

Price then became philosophic about the way the game is being played these days—much less offense, fewer home runs, fewer runs scored.

“It’s interesting in that the game seems to be trending back towards what we saw in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. We no longer have these grandiose offensive numbers. When I was in Seattle for my second year (as pitching coach) we were second in the league in earned run average with a 4.50. What is there, one team in the National League that has an ERA that high (Colorado 4.95)?”

Price didn’t mention that the Steroids Era is over, although many experts believe the steroids and PEDs helped pitchers as much as the hitters.

“What’s happening is phenomenal,” he said, after somebody mentioned that Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt led the league with 37 home runs last season and 37 home runs in 2000 would have tied him for 15th.

“It will be interesting to see if the game keeps moving its way back to the sacrifice bunt, the hit-and-run, the things that kind of fallen by the wayside. You can no longer count on copious numbers of runs to be scored. You can no longer say, ‘Just hold on guys, we’ll have a four or five-run inning somewhere along he way and put this game away. It is something to see.”

But the strikeouts continue to pile up. It is no longer like 1941 when Joe DiMaggio put together his 56-game hitting streak and only struck out 13 times in 622 plate appearances. And that same year Ted Williams hit .406 and struck out 27 times in 606 plate appearances.

“The strikeout has become an acceptable part of the game, even with players who are not home run hitters,” said Price. “That’s the part to me that is really dangerous these days, all the empty at-bats.

When told of what DiMaggio and Williams did, Price shook his head and said, “That’s unbelievable, really unbelievable. It really is. It’s phenomenal.”

Repoz Posted: August 28, 2014 at 04:40 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: history, reds

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-28-2014

Pittsburgh Press, August 28, 1914:

If the Venice Tigers bring home the bacon next season the Maier ball park will be exempt from taxation, is the conclusion of the board of equalization, which was reached today when Eddie Maier, owner of the park, appeared before the board and requested the exemption. On the other hand, the board said that if the Tigers failed to come home with the pennant next year, the tax would be raised, instead of suspended.

Ouch. Anyway, Venice/Vernon didn’t win the PCL flag until 1919, when they were owned by (of all people) Fatty Arbuckle.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 28, 2014 at 09:39 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-27-2014

Pittsburgh Press, August 27, 1914:

New Britain, Conn., Aug. 27.—Just four persons paid admittance to the base ball grounds to see a game scheduled between the New Britain and Waterbury teams, of the Eastern association. The management paid back the money to the faithful four and called off the game.

The local team is financially embarrassed, besides being hopelessly in last place, and some doubt is expressed as to whether or not it will finish out the season.

I think I went to some Cleveland Indians games in the early 80s with similar crowds.

Anyway, the New Britain Sinks disappeared after the 1914 season, as did the Eastern Association. Most of the same cities wound up in the 1916-1932 iteration of the Eastern League, but New Britain didn’t return to pro baseball until the BritSox arrived in 1983.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 27, 2014 at 08:18 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-26-2014

Toledo News-Bee, August 26, 1914:

Milton F. Stock, Giant third sacker, is now the author of the first infield home run ever perpetrated on the Polo grounds. In a game there recently Stock propelled the ball at Niehoff of the Reds with such force that when it struck the third baseman’s leg it shot off toward the grandstand and dropped into a box.

This is the sort of thing that could have only happened in a stadium that was 279 feet down the left field line. And even then, I’m having a tough time imagining how that happened. Off the top of his kneecap or something?

As an aside, I love that newspapers of this era completely fabricated middle initials and/or names. (Milt Stock’s middle name was Joseph.) John F. Mabry would have fit in nicely.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 26, 2014 at 08:42 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: bert niehoff, dugout, history, milt stock

Monday, August 25, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-25-2014

Toledo News-Bee, August 25, 1914:

The Pittsburgh club, when it obtains a new player, sends him, along with his contract, a form-card, which he is to fill out and return.
...
One youngster, duly receiving his card-chart, filled most of it out very satisfactorily, but seemed a bit hazy as to a few questions. Appended is a section of his card:

Batting average, 1913: .322
Batting average to date, 1914: .341
Stolen bases to date: 37
Years in professional ball: Three.
First engagement: I had rather not put that in, because I married a diffrunt [sic] girl and my wife would get sore.
Original position: Paper hanger.

Choo-Choo Coleman would be proud.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 25, 2014 at 08:59 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, August 22, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-22-2014

Toledo News Bee, August 22, 1914:

Pitcher “Dazzy” Vance, aged 20, who was offered for sale by the Superior club of the Nebraska State league together with the franchise and entire club early this season for $250 with no takers, has been sold by Jack Holland of the St. Joseph Western league club to Pittsburg Nationals for $5,000.

Disgusted at the offer made by Superior, Vance bought his release for $50, joined Hastings team and was almost immediately sold to the St. Joseph club for $1,000.

The good news was that the Pirates got a future Hall of Famer who led the National League in strikeouts seven years in a row, wins twice, ERA three times, shutouts four times, complete games twice, and won an MVP award.

The bad news for the Pirates is that he did all that stuff as a Dodger. Dazzy had a sore arm when the Pirates bought his rights, and he bounced around the minors for a half-dozen years before a doctor performed an unspecified surgery on his elbow. It’s safe to say the surgery was successful.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 07:57 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: dazzy vance, dugout, history

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Megdal: Humble shortstop Marty Marion should be in Hall contention

Once during a heated SABR meeting I told a frayed Marionette that Slats had like a 80 OPS+, and he shot back…“No he didn’t, he hit .263 for his career!”

So I raise the case of Marty Marion, aka Slats or Mr. Shortstop, honored last weekend as an inductee into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame, not because we’ve discovered some hidden, extra season Marion played at Sportsman’s Park.

Instead, it’s worth reflecting on Marion, a contemporary of often-honored Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto, for two reasons: His greatness ought to be celebrated by those who experienced it firsthand, and Marion shouldn’t get overlooked because he didn’t believe in touting himself.

Consider for a moment what the following résumé would mean in terms of fame for a player in today’s game: National League MVP in 1944. Two other top-10 MVP finishes. Starting shortstop for four National League pennant winners. Seven All-Star Games.

“He made it easy,” Marion’s double-play partner, Hall of Fame second baseman Red Schoendienst, said last week at Busch Stadium. “Marty made it easy. I think he should be in the Hall of Fame.”

..Schoendienst remembers.

“I’ve seen Rizzuto play, and I’ve seen Pee Wee Reese play, and I’ve seen (Eddie) Miller of Cincinnati play, and I’ve seen so many other ones,” Schoendienst said. “And Marty’s right there with him, no matter what.

“Marty Marion ... when the ballgame was on the line, he always made the big play, and he didn’t make any errors. If he made an error, you were getting beat by 10 runs, or you’re winning by that many.

“If he made any fault at all, it was never in the crucial time of a ballgame. And if his back would’ve held up, I don’t know that anybody would have been any better.”.

Repoz Posted: August 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-21-2014

Virginia [Minnesota] Enterprise, August 21, 1914:

Los Angeles writers of the ancient pastime of baseball are wondering over much that a home-run, game-winning swat was recently made out there by a player whose first name is Clarence.

There is nothing in this name thing. “Cactus” Cravath’s first name is Clifford, and the toughest bank blower we ever knew sailed under the label Cyril. Percy Brush was about as explosive a bunch of dynamite as ever tore through an opposing line in the football thing.

In sporting affairs, the Clarences, Cliffords, Percies and Fauntleroys are apt to be tough birds, while the Pats, Georges, Johns, Marmadukes and Hannibals are apt to wear stovepipe model straw hats, smoke Egyptian cigaretts [sic], wear white silk hosiery and have a fondness for grand opera, caviar, Keats and other forms of calm and pacific pastimes.

Heh. Like there could ever be great players with first names like Melvin, Gaylord, Ferguson, or Lynn.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 21, 2014 at 09:41 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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